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Take care of ourselves during this crisis

I’m sure, by now, a lot of us have probably started to experience some difficulties in handling our current lifestyles as a result of the various levels of social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders established by the states.

I’ll admit, event though I’m working, it can be difficult knowing my days are mostly spent sitting in the office and sitting at home. I’m used to going out into our communities and covering governmental meetings, business openings and town festivals or other events. Most of those have been postponed or canceled, and the majority of the local governmental meetings are now handled either through teleconference or online streaming.

The plus side, I’m not driving as much so I’m saving money on gas, the price for which has dropped incredibly in recent weeks, in part, because of the change in demand. On the down side, I’m spending a lot of time just sitting around, which isn’t good for its own reasons.

It’s not a bad thing to have this extra time available. I’ve just gotten so used to being busy most days, and, at some point, the assignments are going to be coming back to (hopefully) their “regular” level.

So, the question is how to fill those newly acquired hours. I have a stack of books I’ve been wanting to read. There are a few video games I’ve managed to pick up.

I suppose I could always try walking to help with my health — making certain to abide by the social distancing regulations and possibly even wear some sort of facial covering while out.

Some medical professionals even suggest picking up a hobby, although I’m not certain what would be a good fit for when we “go back to normal.”

Some friends have taken up gardening, both in their yards and with small starter kits. A few have musical ability, while others have tried their hand at drawing or painting. A few folks have told me I should branch out from my chosen profession and focus on photography.

Not everyone handles change well, and this pandemic has been a change for all of us. We’ve developed into social creatures, as well as creatures of habit. Anything that throws us off of those paths, especially for long periods of time, can have an effect on both our physical and mental health.

If we are used to being busy, for example, suddenly not having much to do for long periods of time can cause us to be jittery and out of sorts. We might become more argumentative or fall into a depression. So, it’s a good idea to find ways to stay busy both mentally and physically.

I’ve actually found myself taking a few minutes at a time and just walking around our conference room at the office. It’s not a large room, but a dozen or so laps around the table has helped when I’ve felt my mind slipping into a fog.

I used to do Sudoku puzzles, which happen to appear each day in our newspaper, along with crosswords and other mind teasers.

We don’t really know how long we’re going to be in this situation. I know there is discussion about “reopening” some parts of our states so people can get back to work, but conditions are being placed on every aspect of it, and event then we don’t know when it will happen or who will be affected.

In the meantime, we all need to focus on what we can control and do our best to take care of ourselves however we can.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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